The Commission on Elections will conduct this week a final testing to ensure that the 92,509 vote counting machines are working before sealing the VCMs for use in the May 9 elections.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said the final testing and sealing will be held from May 2 to 7. The machines have already been deployed to the assigned precincts, he added.
The Comelec chief explained that the process will involve testing the machines’ accuracy to count votes by having them read 10 ballots which have been filled in.
He said the VCMs will be sealed and kept under guard until election day, should the machines work properly.
In case any machine encounters problem, there are 5,000 VCMs on standby for replacement, Bautista said, adding that the spare VCMs have been deployed in strategic places in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, so that they can easily be transported to precincts needing a machine replacement.
Bautista said a total of 92, 509 VCMs have been leased for use on election day, apart from the 5,000 VCMs for replacement.
The Comelec chairman also assured that the poll body is well-prepared for the May 9 polls, but could not certainly say that the election process will go smoothly.
“I can say that we are better prepared this time, but we can’t say with certainty that everything will go smoothly. At ang pinakamalaking hamon na ating hinaharap ay yung pag-imprenta ng mga resibo,” he said, in a radio interview.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Comelec should activate the voter verified paper audit trail or vote receipt printing feature of the VCMs in the May 9 polls.
Bautista expessed hope that the printing of the voter receipts would not cause undue delay in the voting process.